SEC track, field: Arkansas men, Lady Vols win; Kentucky finishes seventh in both team events

March 1, 2009

Arkansas won its fifth consecutive men’s title in the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, finishing the three-day meet Sunday with 130 points, 28 more than runner-up Florida.

The title is the 12th in 13 years and 16th in 18 years for Arkansas, but the first under Coach Chris Bucknam — successor to the legendary John McDonnell.

Tennessee rallied to edge defending champion LSU for the women’s championship, 111-105. Arkansas was third with 97 points.

Kentucky placed seventh in both the men’s (48 points) and women’s (49 1/2) competition.

“We’ve got a lot of holes to fill, and it’s trying to balance the scholarship money across the event areas so that we’re more competitive across the board,” UK Coach Don Weber said. “But for what we had out there today, especially on the men’s side but even on the women’s side, I was really pleased with the way they competed. Their will to win.

“So we’re not where we want to be. We’ve got have more depth, more balance. But the way they competed, I was pretty pleased.”

Mikel Thomas

Mikel Thomas

UK’s top efforts came from Mikel Thomas, runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles, and Jose Acevedo, who was third in the 400, seventh in the 200 and anchored the Wildcats’ third-place 4-by-400 relay.

“Man, there’s nobody that wanted it more than me,” Thomas said after running second to South Carolina’s Jason Richardson. “I got out great. I had it for like three hurdles, smashed that No. 4, but I stayed in there and fought all the way across the line and gave it all I had.”

Richardson clocked 7.72. Thomas, a senior who competed for Trinidad and Tobago at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, was timed in 7.77.

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

Acevedo won his 400 heat in 46.85, but was upstaged by second-heat winner Robert Simmons of LSU (46.22). Acevedo’s 200 of 21.14 placed him just behind teammate Justin Austin (20.99). Georgia’s Torrin Lawrence won in 20.81.

The 4-by-400 went to Florida (3:05.82), followed by South Carolina (3:06.11) and the Wildcats (3;06.78).

“It was a really good day,” said Acevedo, a senior who ran the 200 for Venzuela at last summer’s Beijing Olympics. “I ran 46 (seconds) twice in the 400. I haven’t run under 47 in like three years, so I was pretty pleased about that. The 200, after running the 400, believe me, I was really tired and I couldn’t give more. But I still ran good, 21.1 indoors.”

Arkansas’ Bucknam credited his assistant coaches and the Razorback seniors who made it all possible.

“They came with a first-year coach with just a short period of time left,” Bucknam said. “I asked them to lead the program and to help us get through this this year. And, of course, they did. With flying colors.

“So my hat’s off to the seniors that stepped it up another level. When there was adversity, when there was a coaching change, they continued to train hard. And this is the end result.”

Dorian Ulrey, who came with Bucknam from Northern Iowa, led a 1-2-4-8 Arkansas finish in the mile. Bucknam finished in 3:59.77. Duncan Phillips came in second (4:01.30), Michael Chinchar took fourth (4:03.52), with Rick Elliott eighth (4:08.33).

“We train all year round for this meet and one other particular indoor meet,” Ulrey said, nodding to the NCAA Championships. “We just ran smooth. We ran relaxed. Our whole plan was to just blanket the finish with Razorbacks, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Arkansas’ other wins Sunday came from Alex McClary in the 800 and in the distance medley relay (Chinchar, Jake Stephens, McClary and Phillips). With the team title in hand, Ulrey opted out of the relay in order to spread the event titles around.

Ulrey tipped his hat to McDonnell, saying he was pleased “to be able to continue that excellent tradition with the new coach and the new athletes, and kind of usher in a new era for Arkansas. And we’ve done a pretty good job this weekend.”

The Razorbacks got a 2-3 finish in the triple jump from Nkosinza Balumbu and Tarek Batchelor. as well as second-place finishes by J-Mee Samuels in the 60, Niit Marek in the 200 and Shawn Forrest in the 5,000. Samuels, who also took fifth in the 200, got things rolling.

“It energized our team when J-Mee busted out that great 60,” Bucknam said. “He’d been struggling all year. To see him come through like he did and hit an auto-qualifier (6.63) against (LSU’s) Trindon Holliday, a world-class sprinter in his own right, that was a big start for us. Then it just built from that point on.”

Florida freshman Christian Taylor, who won the long jump Saturday, added the triple jump Sunday, knocking off defending champion Balumba with a fifth-round distance of 52-10 1/4. Taylor scored 22 1/2 points to win the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Tennessee’s women blanketed the results sheet, scoring in 14 of 17 events.

Sarah Bowman led the Vols completing a third consecutive trifecta with wins in the mile, 3,000 meters and as anchor of the distance medley relay. That added up to 22 1/2 points and the Commissioner’s Trophy as the high scorer of the meet.

Tennessee also got wins from a pair of former walk-ons: Celriece Law in the 60-meter hurdles and Phoebe Wright in the 800. Law also placed third in the triple jump. Lynne Layne placed second in the 60 and 200, adding an eighth-place finish in the long jump.


Christian Taylor, Fla., triple jump winner – “I was happy I came through, … happy to get out on the fifth jump and then just watch. … That (5) is my new number. I’ll take it. I’m blessed with good health and strong training. I’ll carry this to nationals.”

Jason Richardson, S.C., hurdles winner – “It went OK. … I’m blessed that I came out as champion. That’s all I can ask.”

Richardson, on trailing Kentucky’s Thomas out of the blocks – “I usually come on at the end, so I didn’t panic and I didn’t fret. I just stayed confident in my training and I was able to come out on top at the end.”

Trindon Holliday, LSU, 60-meter dash winner – “I didn’t have the start that I wanted to have. I kind of stumbled a little bit, but I was able to maintain what I was doing and finish the race.”

Holliday on having the second-best qualifying time, behind Kentucky’s Rondel Sorrillo, Sunday’s fourth-place finisher – “It wasn’t any cause for concern. It was more motivation than anything. So I just told myself to come out and ‘I’m gonna be ready to go when the gun’s shot.’”

Tennessee Lady Vols Coach J.J. Clark – “We had a couple things go our way and had some youngsters come through. We had some SEC champions come through with big points for us, and that’s what really helped to pull us through. It was a great meet for our Lady Vols, really something to remember.”

Catherine Kalmer, on leading Arkansas’ 1-2-3 finish in the women’s 5,000 – “We’re very excited. We just decided to come out here today and try to get a national (qualifying) mark. Unfortunately we didn’t run as fast as we’d hoped for, but I still think we made a point that Arkansas distance running is something to be reckoned with.”

Earlier coverage from Sunday’s meet

Update: Newspaper duties call, but here are the final team standings. I’ll update this blog once I’m done with my Herald-Leader paper duty!

Men – Arkansas 130; Florida 102; Tennessee 78; South Carolina and Auburn 65; LSU 64; Kentucky 48; Georgia 47; Alabama 35; Ole Miss 29. Commissioner’s Trophy (for points leader): Christian Taylor, Florida.

Women – Tennessee 111; LSU 105; Arkansas 97; Florida 84; South Carolina 57; Auburn 54; Kentucky 49 1/2; Ole Miss 32; Mississippi State 28; Alabama 26 1/2; Georgia 14; Vanderbilt 5. Commissioner’s Trophy: Sarah Bowman, Tennessee.

*With the men’s team championship in hand, Arkansas gave 3,000-meter and mile champion Dorian Ulrey a rest, having him set out the distance medley relay. No matter. The Razorbacks still won in 9:47.31.

Michael Chinchar led off, followed by Jake Stephens, 800-meter champion Alex McClary and Duncan Phillips.

Phillips outkicked Alabama’s Emmanuel Bor on the final straightaway. Bama came in at 9:47.66.

After 16 events, Arkansas has 127 points. Florida has 92, Tennessee 77, Auburn 65, LSU 60 and South Carolina 57. Kentucky and Georgia are tied for seventh with 42 points.

Christine Kalmer, Denise Bargiachi and Catherine White gave Arkansas a 1-2-3 sweep in the women’s 5,000. Kalmer won in 16:20.06, followed by Bargiachi, the defending champion.

Through 13 events, LSU leads Tennessee 92-83 in the women’s standings. Arkansas has 81, Auburn 48. Kentucky is seventh with 31 1/2.

* 200-meter wins go to Georgia’s Torrin Lawrence (20.81) and LSU’s Samantha Henry (23.45). Kentucky’s Justin Austin and Jose Acevedo placed 6-7 in the men’s race.

Through 15 men’s events, Arkansas leads Florida 117-87. Tennessee has 73, LSU 60, Auburn 59. UK is eighth with 40.

Through 12 women’s events, LSU leads Tennessee 92-80. Arkansas is next with 57, then South Carolina with 46, Auburn with 44, Florida 41 and UK 31 1/2.

* Winners at 800 meters were Arkansas’ Alex McClary (1:49.37) for the men and Tennessee’s Phoebe Wright (2:02.31) for the women.

Arkansas leads the men’s standings 105-87 over Florida. Tennessee has 72, LSU 60. Kentucky is seventh with 35.

With a 2-4-5 finish in the 800, LSU has taken a 76-72 lead over the Tennessee women. Arkansas has 55, South Carolina 46. UK is seventh with 31 1/2.

* More winners include Dorian Ulrey of Arkansas in the mile (3:59.77), Robert Simmons of LSU in the 400 (46.22) and Tyson David of Alabama in the 5,000.

Through 13 events, the Arkansas men hold a 95-77 lead over Florida. Tennessee is third (64), followed by LSU and South Carolina (57 each), Auburn 48 and Kentucky 35.

Auburn’s Joanna Atkins prevailed in the women’s 400 (52.61).

Through 10 women’s events, Tennessee and LSU remain tied with 59 points. Arkansas has 53, South Carolina 46. Kentucky is seventh with 31 1/2.

* Quick update: Through nine events, Tennessee and LSU are tied to the women’s lead with 59 points. Then it’s Arkansas (48), Florida (35), South Carolina (33) and Kenutcky (31 1/2).

LSU’s Samantha Henry took the 60 meters (7.21) over Tennessee’s Lynne Layne (7.22).

Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman, winner of Saturday’s 3K, won the mile in 4:41.35. She is the first woman ever to sweep the SEC mile and 3K three years in a row.

* South Carolina’s Jason Richardson just edged Kentucky’s Mikel Thomas in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, 7.72 seconds to 7.77.

Results are rolling in now. My duty as a newspaper reporter call first, so updates will be less frequent. However, results are availalbe very quickly online at

A 23-point bonanza in the pole vault has put Tennessee on top of the men’s standings.

The Vols jump from third place to first, leading Arkansas 62-51. Florida is third with 45, followed by South Carolina’s 37 and LSU’s 32. Kentucky is 10th with 13 points.

Tennessee went 1-2 in the vault, Joe Berry and Brad Holtz each topping 17-3. Michael Ayers, winner of the heptathlon, cleared 17-0 for fourth place.

Taylor gets his second win for Gators

Florida freshman Christian Taylor picked up his second win, taking the men’s triple jump just the way he won Saturday’s long jump.

Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor

David Banks

David Banks

Defending champion Nkosinza Balumbu of Arkansas led through four rounds.

But Taylor, just as happened Saturday, came up with a winning effort on his fifth attempt, 52 feet, 10 1/4 inches.

Balumbu, jumping last, finished with a 52-footer in the fifth round and 52-1 1/4 on his last try. Teammate Tarek Batchelor finished third at 50-2 3/4.

Kentucky’s David Banks, seeded 11th, popped a season-best 49-8 1/4 to place fifth.

Arkansas leads the men’s points race with 51 points. Florida has 43, Tennessee 39, South Carolina 27. UK is 10th with 13 points.

Auburn senior Raevan Harris took top honors in the women’s high jump at 6-0 3/4. LSU’s Brittani Carter was runner-up at 5-11 1/2.

For UK, pentathletes Ashley Newby and Precious Nwokey finished seventh (5-5 1/4) and 15th (5-3 1/4). Natalie Wise no-heighted.

Arkansas leads the women’s standings with 45 points. LSU has 40, Kentucky 29 1/2 and Tennessee 25.

LSU’s Henning dominates in weight throw

The first title to be won Sunday, the final day of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, goes to LSU’s Walter Henning.

Walter Henning

Walter Henning

The sophomore from Kings Park, N.Y., dominated the men’s 35-pound weight throw with a winning distance of 75-feet, 5 1/2 inches at the University of Kentucky’s Nutter Field House.

Henning, who transferred from North Carolina, where his junior world record of 72-3 earned him third place in the NCAA Indoor Champs.

Saturday, he had four throws beyond 22 meters. No other thrower reached 21 meters.

South Carolina sophomore Mike Zajac was second at 20.67 meters — 68 feet, 1 1/2 inches.

Kentucky’s Rashaud Scott slipped from fourth place in flight competition to sixth in the finals. His best mark, 63-11 3/4, came in the third round. He fouled all three attempts in the finals.

Through six men’s events, Arkansas leads Tennessee 37-34. Florida has 33, South Carolina 27, and LSU is tied with Auburn at 25. Kentucky is 10th with nine points.

Sarah Bowman, Tenn., on her unprecedented three-peat sweep of the mile, 3K and distance medley relay: “Each year you have to go in with your right, and you can’t expect to be handed anything. You have to work for everything. So I came in ready to work.”

SEC T&F: Arkansas lead team races

February 28, 2009

Arkansas leads both the men’s and women’s standings heading into Sunday’s final day of competition.

The Razorback men have 37 points, followed by Florida (33), Tennessee (32), Auburn (25), South Carolina (19), Alabama (14), Ole Miss (12), Georgia (11), then Kentucky and LSU (6 each).

The Arkansas women lead LSU 45-32, with Kentucky next at 28. Then it’s Tennessee (25), Mississippi State (19), Florida (18), Alabama (10 1/2), Ole Miss (10), Auburn (3), South Carolina (2 1/2) and Georgia (2).

The final two events on Saturday’s schedule saw Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman win the women’s 3,000 meters for a third consecutive year, holding off teammate Jackie Areson 9:21.66 to 9:24.34. Bowman will go for three-peats Sunday in the mile and distance medley relay.

Tennessee sophomore Michael Ayers, after taking over first place in the pole vault, finished strong in the 1,000 meters to take the men’s heptathlon with 5,717 points. Gray Horn of Florida was second (5,586), followed by 1,000-meter winner Scott Pierce of South Carolina (2:33.46, 5,325) and first-day leader Curt McGill (5,292) of Carolina.

Ulrey sprints away in 3,000 meters

 A Nutter Field House record fell as Arkansas junior Dorian Ulrey won the men’s 3,000 meters in 7:55.56.

That broke the Nutter record of 7:59.25 set in 2004 by another Arkansas distance dominator, Alistair Craig, and missed the SEC record by a mere half-second.

Shawn Forrest made it a 1-2 finish for the Razorbacks, timed in 7:56.45. Alabama’s Tyson David was third in 7:57.07. Kentucky freshman Luis Orta took 11th in 8:22.34.

Ulrey was content to sit in the middle of the pack for most of the race. He was still in fourth with one lap left on the 290-meter oval. With a little more than 200 meters left, he burst off the curve to gain the lead, never to be caught.

The Razorbacks lead through four men’s events with 35 points. Florida is second with 25, one ahead of Auburn. Tennessee is fourth with 22. Kentucky remains eighth with six points.

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Michael Ayers won the heptathlon pole vault by clearing 16-10 3/4.

Picking up 957 points, Ayers leads Florida’s Gray Horn, 4,919-4,784, with only the 1,000 meters left. South Carolina’s Curt McGill dropped from first to third place with 4,729, clearing 13-3 1/2 for eighth in the vault.

Henry advances with season-best 200

Top-seeded Samantha Henry of LSU notched a season-best 23.61 to lead nine qualifiers into Sunday’s finals of the women’s 200 meters. Florida freshman Alishea Usery qualified second in 23.62.

Kentucky’s lone entrant, Jazmyn Shorter, did not advance. She finished 16th overall in 24.68.

Lawrence rocks; 2 Cats in 200-meter finals

Fabulous freshman Torrin Lawrence of Georgia lived up to his top billing in men’s 200-meter preliminaries, blasting a 20.90 to lead the way into Sunday’s finals

Justin Austin

Justin Austin

Two more freshmen followed — Auburn’s Marcus Rowland (20.96) and Arkansas’ Marek Niit.

Withthe nine fastest times from nine heats, regardless of heat placement, advancing to the finals, Kentucky put two sprinters in the finals. Freshman Justin Austin won his heat in 21.08 and senior Jose Acevedo took second in his heat (behind Florida’s Evander Wells) in 21.11, placing the Wildcats sixth and seventh overall.

Rondel Sorrillo, UK’s Olympian from Trinidad and Tobago, easily won his heat in 21.25. Due to not having a qualifying mark, though, he was placed in the slowest heat and was unable to advance, 12th overall. Runner-up Neil Danville of Auburn finished more than a seconed behind in 22.44.

Thomas cruises into 800 finals

Defending champion LaTavia Thomas of LSU breezed through qualifying in the women’s 800, fourth overall in 2:08.03.

Sofie Persson of Ole Miss led the rounds in 2:07.08, followed by Chanelle Price of Tennessee in 2:07.16.

Kentucky’s Jessica Ortman, who advanced in the mile earlier Saturday, made it 2-for-2 with the seventh-best 800 time, 2:08.95.

Franklin sets pace in 800 trials

Tennessee’s Joe Franklin led qualifying for Sunday’s finals in the men’s 800 meters.

Franklin finished in 1:49.35. Carlos Phillips was next in 1:49.35, leading a group of three Florida Gators to the finals.

Kentucky failed to advance a runner. Freshman Mike Knisley and Trent Halasek placed 15-16 in 1:53.31 and 1:53.92; sophomore Matt Frawley was 19th in 1:54.70.

Ole Miss soph leads 400-meter trials

Ole Miss sophomore LaJada Baldwin posted the fastest qualifying time in the women’s 400 meters, 53.38.

Auburn’s Joanna Atkins was next (53.42), followed by Nadonnia Rodriques, who led a pack of four South Carolinians into Sunday’s finals.

Kentucky’s Jazmyn Shorter was fastest of the non-qualifiers, 10th overall in 55.16. Freshman Brittany Cabbler tied for 17th in 56.84.

Acevedo advances to 400 finals

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

Calvin Smith

of Florida turned in the fastest qualifying time in the men’s 400 meters, 46.64.

Robert Simmons of LSU and Jose Acevedo of Kentucky, 1-2 in their heat at 46.74 and 46.98, rank 2-3 overall. Next is defending champion Justin Gaymon of Arkansas in 47.29.

Bowman is fastest in mile prelims

To no surprise, Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman led qualifying in the women’s mile. Bowman is attempting to win the mile, 3,000 and distance medley, each for a third consecutive year.

She won Saturday’s heat in 4:49.46, followed by teammate Rolanda Bell in 4:50.94.

Kentucky’s Jessica Ortman advanced, placing second in the other heat in 4:52.97. Florida’s Charlotte Browning won that race in 4:51.98.

Panezich moves Vols into second

A win in the shot put by Nick Panezich has moved Tennessee into second place in the men’s team standings.

Florida now leads the Volunteers 25-22. Arkansas is third with 14. Kentucky notched its first six points of the meet, good for eighth place.

Panezich won with the first of his six attempts, measured at 60-10 1/2. South Carolina’s Jason Cook was second at 6-3.

For Kentucky, Rashaud Scott placed fifth (59-5 1/2), Chase Madison seventh (58-8). Colin Boevers fouled all three of his qualifying attempts.

Scott and Madison both got their best throws in the first round. Scott fouled four of his final five chances, while Madison fouled all of his final five tries.

Arkansas men dominate mile prelims

The Arkansas men took a big step in their title chase, qualifying four individuals for Sunday’s finals in the mile.

Top-seeded Dorian Ulrey led Saturday’s preliminaries in 4:06.51. Teammates Duncan Phillips (4:06.63) and Michael Chinchar gave the Razorbacks a 1-2-3 sweep in the heat. Sixth in that race went to Arkansas frosh Rick Elliott (4:12.18). Auburn’s Felix Kiboiywo took the second heat in 4:09.07.

Kentucky advanced one of its three entrants to the finals, Adam Henken (4:11.77). Eliminated were Josh Nadzam (13th, 4:15.47) and Will Rover (15th, 4:17.09).

Through two men’s finals, Florida leads Arkansas 16-14. Tennessee and Ole Miss are tied with 12.

After three women’s finals, Kentucky leads LSU 27-23, followed by Arkansas with 16.

Sorrillo debuts with fastest 60-meter time

A couple more winners and a sensational qualifier have things hopping in Nutter.

Rondel Sorillo

Rondel Sorillo


freshman Christian Taylor lived up to his top billing in the long jump, reaching 25-3 1/2 to edge defending champion Alain Bailey of Arkansas by 1 3/4 inches.



Another defending champ from Arkansas, Katie Stripling, came far shy of her season-leading 14-3 1/4 in the pole vault. She came in at 12-9 1/2, then missed all three tries at 13-1 1/2, placing eighth.

LSU freshman Rachel Laurent won the vault with an NCAA automatic qualifier of 14-0 1/2. Tara Diebold and Tina Sutej of Arkansas placed 2-3, each clearing 13-5.

The sensational qualifier?

Rondell Sorrillo, a junior transfer who was making his Kentucky and NCAA debut.

Sorrillo, who competed for Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 meters at the Beijing Olympics, exploded in 60-meter prelims with an NCAA-automatic time of 6.60 seconds. LSU football player Trindon Holliday, ranked second in the NCAA,  was next fastest in 6.65.

Sorrillo, Holliday, Auburn’s Marcus Rowland (6.68) and South Carolina’s Jonathan Hancock (6.68) were the heat winners. UK freshman Justin Austin was among the others advancing to Sunday’s finals, timed in 6.73. Gordon McKenzie came up two places short of advancing, timed in 6.78.

The women’s 60 featured NCAA-automatic times in each of three heats: LSU’s Samantha Henry (7.19) and South Carolina teammates Kya Brookins (7.22) and Shayla Mahan (7.23).

Gamecocks roll in heptathlon hurdles

Friday, South Carolina heptathletes won three events outright and tied for first in another.

The Gamecocks have kept it going Saturday. Teammates Curt McGill and Eddie Stoudemire each cleared the 60-meter hurdles in 8.21 seconds, winning the event with 930 points each.

McGill continues to lead the overall standings with 4,098 points. Florida freshman Gray Horn is second with 4,009, followed by Tennessee’s Michael Ayers with 3,962.

Kentucky freshman Kevin Carney withdrew due to a leg injury that occurred Friday.

Preliminary races saw South Carolina’s Jason Richards qualify first in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, 7.78. Kentucky’s Mikel Thomas was next at 7.81, a hundredth of a second ahead of Florida’s Dennis Martin.

South Carolina’s Ronnetta Alexander had the quickest time in the women’s hurdles, 8.20. Kentucky’s Ashley Trimble, winner of Friday’s pentathlon, just missed advancing to the nine-woman finals. Her time of 8.61 ranked 10th.

Vols’ Wilson lifts off in high jump

Tennessee junior Brenard Wilson became the first men’s champion of the SEC meet, edging Auburn freshman Ryan Fleck in the high jump.

Brenard Wilson

Brenard Wilson

Wilson and Fleck each cleared 7-0 1/2, with Wilson winning because of fewer misses.

Three more freshman placed 3-4-5, all clearing 6-11 — Florida’s Frankie Hammond, Ole Miss’ Brian Knight and Alabama’s Tyler Cambell.

UK freshman Spencer Patterson placed 12th, clearing 6-5.

Through one men’s event, Tennessee leads Auburn 10-8. Points are awarded to the top seven finishers — 10-8-6-5-4-3-1.

After two women’s finals, Kentucky leads Mississippi State 27-14. Ole Miss is third with 10, one ahead of LSU.

One Ole Miss Smith upends two UK Smiths

Kentucky was hoping to get off with a bang Saturday, the second day of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Juliana Smith

Juliana Smith

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith

The Wildcats came in with the top two seeds in the women’s 20-pound weight throw, Heather and Kristin — the unrelated Smiths.

Through four rounds in UK’s Nutter Field House, Kristin led (61-11 1/4) and Heather was in second (59-11 3/4).

But it was yet another Smith, Ole Miss sophomore Juliana, stealing the top spot with her fifth-round toss of 62-2 3/4.

Kristin Smith fouled her final two attempts and finished second.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Heather Smith finished with a pair of 60-footers, the best a 60-10 3/4 in the fifth round, and placed third.

SEC Track: Trimble takes pentathlon for UK

February 27, 2009

Ashley Trimble saved the best for last Friday night.

In fifth place after four of five events, the Kentucky senior literally ran away with the women’s pentathlon in the 800 meters to become the first champion of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Ashley Trimble

Ashley Trimble

Trimble never led the overall points standings until blasting the 800 in 2:14.72 on the oversized Nutter Field House oval.

That gave her 897 points and a five-event total of 3,991– beating her own school record by two points.

Mississippi State senior Marrissa Harris, who led after each of the first four events, repeated as SEC runner-up with 3,945 points. Alabama’s Chealsea Taylor  took third with 3,934.

Besides Trimble, UK had Danielle Sampley in sixth (3,645), Ashley Newby ninth (3,542), Precious Nwokey 10th (3,428) and Natalie Wise 12th (3,221).

Trimble, from Columbus, Ohio, is UK’s first multi-event winner in the SEC Championships. She placed fourth at last year’s SEC meet.

She moved into position to strike for victory by placing second in the long jump (19-0 1/2), hitting the takeoff board to perfection on the last of her three attempts. Arkansas’ Peter-Gaye Beckford won that event (20-2 1/4).

Going to the final event, Harris led Taylor 3,217 to 3,153. Then came Mississippi State’s Laquinta Aaron (3,141), Beckford (3,099), Trimble (3,094) and Sampley (3,039).

In the 800, Trimble’s 2:14.72 put her all alone at the finish. Runner-up Ellen Wortham of Tennessee clocked in at 2:20.11. Harris ran a personal-best 2:27.25, fifth in the event, to score 728 points.

In the men’s heptathlon, South Carolina senior Curt McGill took the first-day lead with 3,168 points. Next came Tennessee’s Michael Ayers (3,128) and Florida’s Gray Horn (3,104). UK freshman Kevin Carney is 14th (2,573).

Ayers, Horn and South Carolina’s Scott Pierce tied for first in Friday’s final event, the high jump (6-6 3/4, 803 points).

Harris maintains lead through three events

After three of five events in the women’s pentathlon, it’s still Marrissa Harris of Mississippi State in the lead.

Marrissa Harris

Marrissa Harris

Peter-Gaye Beckford of Arkansas won the third event, putting the shot 43-4 1/4.

Harris was a solid fifth, though, at 36-6 3/4.

That gave Harris 604 points for a three-event total of 2,431 points.

Next are Alabama’s Chealsea Taylor (2,415) and Mississippi State’s Laquinta Aaron (2,358). Despite scoring 741 points in the shot, Beckford is in 10th (2,203).

For Kentucky, in the overall standings it’s Ashley Trimble in fifth (2,305), Danielle Sampley seventh (2,268), Ashley Newby eighth (2,263), Precious Nwokey 11th (2,145) and Natalie Wise 14th (2,032).

Trimble led the Cats in the shot, ninth in the event (34-7, 565 points). Sampley threw 33-6 (543); Newby 33-1 1/4 (535); Nwokey 30-6 1/2 (484), and Wise 30-0 3/4 (475).

McGill increases heptathlon lead

With a first-place shot put of 46-0 1/2, South Carolina senior Curt McGill has padded his lead through three events of the men’s heptathlon.

Curt McGill

Curt McGill

McGill’s effort scored 730 points, making his three-event total 2,445.

Tennessee’s Michael Ayers is second (2,325), followed by Florida’s Gray Horn (2,301). Kentucky freshman Kevin Carney moved up one place, 15th with 1,903 points.

Ayers placed second in the shot (44-3 1/4, 697 points, while Horn was ninth (39-5, 607). Carney’s put ranked eighth (39-7, 610).

Harris retains pentathlon lead

Mississippi State’s Marrissa Harris retained her lead in the pentathlon, clearing 5-4 1/2 in the high jump.

Alabama’s Chealsea Taylor had the best clearance, 5-10 1/2, to move into second place.

Tennessee’s Ellen Wortham, runner-up in the high jump, is third.

Harris’ clearance was worth 783 points, pushing her total to 1,827.

Taylor, scoring 966 in the jump, has 1,812 points.

Wortham, with 855, increased her total to 1,805.

For Kentucky, Ashley Trimble, Ashley Newby and Danielle Sampley rank 5-6-7 in the field of 18 competitors, with two-event totals of 1,740, 1,728 and 1,725. Precious Nwokey is 10th at 1,661, with Natalie Wise in 12th with 1,557.

Newby led UK’s high jumpers, tying for third overall at 5-5 3/4 (818 points). Trimble cleared 5-2 1/4, while Sampley, Nwokey and Wise all topped 5-3 1/4.

Carolina’s McGill wins long jump, takes over lead in heptathlon

South Carolina senior Curt McGill has moved from third place to first through the first two events of the men’s heptathlon.

McGill posted the best long jump of competition, 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, to score 850 points. Combined with 865 points in the hurdles, McGill increased his score to 1,715 points.

Florida freshman Gray Horn took second in the jump (23-2 3/4, 833 points) and is second overall (1,694).

Kevin Carney

Kevin Carney

Hurdles winner Eddie Stoudamire of South Carolina took third in the jump (22-3 1/2, 764 points), dropping to third overall (1,675).

Tennessee’s Michael Ayers is fourth (1,628).

Kentucky’s lone entrant, freshman Kevin Carney, took 16th in the jump (19-11 3/4, 606) and is 16th overall (1,293) in a field of 17.

Gamecock wins heptathlon 60
Eddie Stoudemire

Eddie Stoudemire

South Carolina sophomore Eddie Stoudamire took the opening event of the men’s heptathlon, the 60 meters, in 6.92 seconds. That’s worth 911 points.

Tennessee sophomore Michael Ayers was second (7.04, 868 points), just ahead of South Carolina senior Curt McGill (7.05, 865).

UK freshman Kevin Carney stands 15th through one event, timed in 7.58 (687 points).


The SEC meet, at the University of Kentucky’s Nutter Field House, is off and running.

Today (Friday), the women’s pentatathlon and the first four events of the men’s heptathlon are the only events on the agenda.

Marrissa Harris of Mississippi State had the fastest time in the opening event, 8.38 seconds for the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. That earned the senior 1,044 points, 14 ahead of teammate Laquinta Aaron.

Kentucky’s Ashley Trimble was third in 8.45, two points behind Aaron’s 1,030. UK’s Danielle Sampley was fourth (8.68, 978 points), Precious Nwokey 10th (8.98, 914), Ashley Newby 11th (9.00, 910) and Natalie Wise 15th (9.49, 810).

Among the spectators is UK head football coach Rich Brooks.

Next event: heptathlon 60-meter dash. South Carolina’s Eddie Stoudemire comes in with the fastest time, 6.99 seconds.

Saturday and Sunday sessions start at 11 a.m.

For the Herald-Leader meet preview, see

And for Kentucky’s outlook, see

Olympians dazzle at McCravy track and field meet

February 7, 2009
Some of the names at Saturday’s Rod McCravy Memorial indoor track and field meet had familiar rings.

Olympic rings.

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

First-place finishes by Jose Acevedo and Mikel Thomas, both veterans of the Beijing Olympics, led Kentucky. Chase Madison made it a UK hat trick, winning the shot put.

Top female performer at UK’s Nutter Fieldhouse was double-winner Hyleas Fountain, the Olympic silver-medalist in the heptathlon from Dayton, Ohio.

The meet was the second and last home competition for UK before it plays host to the Southeastern Conference Championships, Feb. 27-March 1.
Acevedo, who competed at 200 meters for in the Olympics, tied the Venezuelan national record for 60 meters in Saturday’s finals, placing third. He later won the 200 in 21.22, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

In all, 20 collegiate performances met NCAA provisional standards. Twelve non-collegians also reached provisional standards and four hit automatic qualifing marks.

“It was good. The 60, I opened with my PR (personal record). I was impressed about that – 6.79,” Acevedo said. “It was awesome. And I was trying to do better in the finals. My start wasn’t as good as the prelims, so that cost me a chance to run under 6.70. That was the goal, but I still feel really good about 6.76.”

Rondel Sorillo

Rondel Sorillo

His 6.76 matched the Venezuelan record set by Victor Castillo, who placed 15th in the long jump at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

D’Angelo Cherry, who set a national high school record for 55 meters last year, won the 60 in 6.64. UK senior Gordon McKenzie took second, with a personal-best and NCAA provisional mark of 6.68. Acevedo was among three runners timed in 6.76. Going to ten-thousands of a second, Acevedo’s 6.7511 edged unattached David Dickens’ 6.7547 and Eastern Kentucky’s Shannon Davis’ 6.7575.

UK freshman Justin Austin ran a provisional-qualifying 6.74 preliminary, but did not test a sore leg in the finals.

In the 200, Acevedo topped UK newcomer Rondel Sorillo, 21.22 to 21.33. EKU’s Davis took third in 21.55.

“I was feeling a little bit tight just because of the 60,” Acevedo said. “That (60) is not my event; I’m not used to it. … But I tried to do my best. I got out with Rondel. He’s a really good competitor. He’s a really good runner.

“I was just trying to run with him more than run my race, and I think that was my mistake in the 200. But 21.22 is a provisional mark. It’s a pretty good day.”

Sorillo, from Trinidad and Tobago, competed in the same Olympic qualifying heat as Acevedo. That August day, Sorillo won in 20.58; Acevedo was fifth in 21.06. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the eventual gold-medal winner and world record-setter, ran second in the heat.

Mikel Thomas

Mikel Thomas

Sorillo, who has two years of college in Trinidad under his belt, ran unattached as he is not yet eligible for UK.

Thomas, also a Trinidad Olympian last summer, met the NCAA provisional standard by winning the 60-meter hurdles in 7.80. Runner-up Terence Somerville of Cincinnati matched the provisional cut of 7.91.

“In the trials, I didn’t really get out of the blocks,” Thomas said of his 7.95 prelim. “I got out better (in the finals). This one was cleaner, but in between (hurdles) it’s not really where I need to be. A little tight. A little slow.”
UK’s Madison, a senior, won the shot put by more than four feet over Louisville’s Steve Hnat. Madison’s mark of 61 feet, 7 3/4 inches is an NCAA provisional qualifier.

“That’s definitely the best series of my life,” said Madison, who had efforts of 59-6 3/4, 59-0 1/4, foul, 60-2, 59-10 1/4 and 61-7 3/4. “Building consistencey now through SECs and through the national meet, that’s what I want.”

Chase Madison

Chase Madison

Madison beat his previous best (59-2 3/4) four times.

“A lot more technical work,” he said in explaining his improvement. “A lot more quality work. Not just quantity, but quality.

“Focus on technique, not distance. … Let the distance come in competition, not practice.”

UK’s Colin Boevers placed eighth in the shot. Teammate Rashaud Scott, the NCAA discus champion and a provisional qualifier in Friday’s weight throw, fouled twice and passed his third turn.

Fountain, who won SEC titles for Georgia in the high jump, long jump and pentathlon (collegiate-record 4,417 points) here in 2004, was the Saturday’s quality performer among the women.

Hyleas Fountain

Hyleas Fountain

Fountain set a meet record of 21-5 1/2 in the long jump, then beat the meet and fieldhouse record with an 8.02 in the 60-meter hurdles.

“Right now, training for USAs (championships) and just trying to retain my title in the long jump there,” Fountain said of her 2009 goals. “The biggest meet, of course, is the World Championships in Berlin.”

A timing malfunction made it necessary to re-run Fountain’s preliminary heat of the hurdles. She won both times, 8.13 in the one that counted.
“I just kind of looked at it as a good warmup,” she said.

Furman’s Patrick Morgan, a former standout for Boyle County High School, came off the final turn to kick past Middle Tennessee State’s Festus Chemaoi and win the men’s mile in a personal-best and school-record 4:05.90. Chemaoi, timed in 4:065.29, caught Morgan by surprise and surged to a big lead with about two laps left.

Patrick Morgan

Patrick Morgan

“He made a really good move there,” Morgan said. “I didn’t think I could catch him. I started to kick with about 300 to go, and he just slowly came closer, so I knew I had to (catch him).”

Eastern Kentucky’s Joseph Maina edged UK’s Luis Orta by three-hundredths of a second for third place, finishing in 4:10.59.
Former EKU all-American Jacob Korir, like Maina a Kenyan, used similar tactics to win the 3,000 meters in a meet-record 8:07.09. Mississippi State’s Matt Cameron, competing unattached, led until the final 200 meters.

Western Kentucky swept the 4-by-400 relays for men (3:12.90) and women (NCAA-provisional 3:37.97). Janet Jesang (9:26.68) and Eimear O’Brien gave the Hilltoppers a 1-2 finish in the women’s 3,000, and Valerie Brown snared the 400 (53.58). Jesang and Brown both met NCAA provisional standards.

Janet Jesang

Janet Jesang

Jesang, a junior from Uganda, hopes to qualify for NCAAs at 5,000 meters next week.

Kelly McNeice, from Northern Ireland, swept the women’s 800 (2:09.45) and mile (4:45.71), followed each time by Zamzam Sangau, a Middle Tennessee State junior from Uganda.

Saravia Richardson gave Louisville its lone win with a provisional qualifying time of 7.44 in the women’s 60.

Other female winners included Chandra Brewer in the shot (55-5 1/2), Chelsea Taylor in the high jump (5-11 1/2) and Trish Bartholomew in the 200 (23.64).

Brewer, a South Florida graduate, placed fourth at last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

Taylor, a top-20 ranked jumper and multi-eventer, is scheduled to return here in three weeks, competing for Alabama.

Jeff Chakouian

Jeff Chakouian

Ohio Northern’s James O’Brien scored one for the smaller schools, taking the lead with 50 meters left en route to winning the men’s 800 in a provisional qualifying time of 1:49.70.



Elvis Forde

Elvis Forde

Carl Morgan upheld Middle Tennessee’s reputation as a perennial power in the jumps, taking the long jump (24-3 3/4).

Other winners were unattached Jamil Hubbard in the 400 (46.58) and Cincinnati’s Shane Shockey in the pole vault (16-0 3/4).

* Visiting coaches included former UK All-American weight man Jeff Chakouian, who has Illinois State University on the upswing in his third year as throws coach. Head coach is Elvis Forde, the former Murray State standout who competed at 400 meters for Barbados at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. names Chris Rusin pre-season all-SEC, picks Wildcats to finish fourth in Eastern Division

January 21, 2009

Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin


Left-hander Chris Rusin of Kentucky has been named pre-season all-Southeastern Conference by also picked the Wildcats to finish fourth in the SEC East.

Rusin became the Wildcats first pitcher in 11 years to earn first-team all-SEC honors last season, following Scott Downs in 1997. Rusin made nine “quality starts” in 13 chances, finishing with a 6-3 record, 3.33 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 83 2/3 innings.

His numbers were skewed when he tried to pitch through an injury in the NCAA Tournament — a career-worst outing against Michigan that last  1 1/3 innings. Leaving that game out of the equation, Rusin was 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder had a 2.63 ERA over five road starts, including two complete games.

“We feel like Chris was the best starting pitcher in the SEC last year, earning first-team all-league honors,” Coach Gary Henderson said in a UK press release. “He is an absolute vital part to this year’s success, and his leadership and veteran presence will be critical for our club.”

Kentucky opens play Feb. 20 against Troy in the Caravelle Resort Tournament at Conway, S.C.

The pre-season all-SEC team – C: Bryce Massanari, Georgia; 1B: Rich Poythress, Georgia; 2B: Ryan Schimpf, LSU; SS: Josh Rutledge, Alabama; 3B: Josh Adams, Florida; OF: Kentrail Davis, Tennessee; Blake Dean, LSU; and Chase Leavitt, Arkansas; SP: Chris Rusin, Kentucky; Mike Minor, Vanderbilt; and Trevor Holder, Georgia; RP: Scott Bittle, Ole Miss.

The SEC divisional predictions:

East – 1. Georgia; 2. Florida; 3. Vanderbilt; 4. Kentucky; 5. South Carolina; 6. Tennessee.

West – 1. LSU; 2. Ole Miss; 3. Alabama; 4. Arkansas; 5. Auburn; 6. Mississippi State.